Wednesday, March 31, 2010


This is a simple pieced edge that can be added to pillow cases to dress them up and add to the decor of your bedroom. It is squares set on point. I picked bright colors with a sharp contrasting background. I also only put the squares on the top of the pillow case and just a yellow band on the back. Materials needed for the edge of each pillow case is 9 two inch squares (using multi colors of fabric), 5 three and a half inch squares (for the background fabric), and two strips of background fabric that are 2 7/8 inches wide and approximately 25 inches long.
I use a cutting mat, large plastic ruler, and rotary cutter to make my cuts exact. Several different companies make these, You can buy the pieces individually or as a set. The one I use is made by Fiscars, it came in the three piece set (it's cheaper if you buy the set). You could also cut them individually with scissors. Just be careful to make them as exact as possible. Cut 9 two inch squares.

Cut 5 three and a half inch squares (background fabric). Then cut across catty corner in both directions to make the setting triangles.

With right sides together, place a triangle on top of a square, lining up the corner and 2 sides as seen in the picture. Use 1/4 inch seams. Do one right after the other without cutting the thread in between, this is called flagging and it really does make the process go faster and it keeps you from loosing any pieces.

Lay out your flag on the ironing board with squares on top. Then with your iron set on cotton setting, use the nose of the iron to push the square up. Doing this ensures that the seam lays flat with no puckers or folds. Clip the thread in between, stack them and go back to the sewing machine.

With right sides together, place another triangle on top of the square on the opposite corner as seen in the picture to the left. Sew in the same manor as before.

Press, clip threads, and stack.

Orient your stack with the top triangle pointing up to the left and seams pointing down. Place one set on the machine, flip the next set over from right to left, place it on top of the first set with right sides together, lining up the sides, with the top triangle on top of the square and the top square on top of the triangle. Continue in this manor until all 9 are sewn together. Press seams. Cut 45 degree angles on both ends of the back strip of fabric, making sure that the angles you cut are complementary to the angles on the front piece you just made. Sew both sides. Your overall finished size if this band when laid flat should be 19 1/2 inches (which is the finished width of a standard pillow case.

For the case itself cut fabric 40 inches wide (add 3/4 inch if you are doing french seams) and 27 inches long, and a strip 40 inches by 5 inches (this will be the hem). Sew the bottom and side seam of the pillowcase and turn it right side out. With right sides together and the squares centered on the top of the pillowcase and the solid band on the back, use 1/4 inch seam to attach decorative band to case being careful to sew across the point of the squares, not into the squares.

Sew the ends of the 40 inch strip together making a band. With right sides together and lining up the side seam of the case with the seam of the band, sew hem band to the bottom edge of decorative band. Press seams down, turn up hem band 1/2 inch and press. Turn up hem to cover the seam between the case and the decorative band and blind stitch. There should be approximately one inch of fabric below the decorative band. The over all finished size of the pillow case should be 19 1/2" X 29".

These make excellent gifts any occation. People love them because that added personal touch makes it all that much more special and it really doesn't take that much time after you get the hang of it. I think it took about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for me to make each one and I was stoping to take pictures as I was doing it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Newest Grandchild

This is my newest grandchild. Lucy arrived at 9:51pm on March 28, 2010. She weighs 7 lbs, 14 oz. She has a head full of dark hair with a reddish tent to it. She is sweet as she can be.

Richard, the one who never wanted to pick up or hold babies, is a very proud Daddy. I believe both of them will be great parents. I was so excited to go see her for the first time, I even put on make-up for the occation. I started to get dressed up too, but

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Booth

I thought I would talk a little bit about the store here in my home town where I have my booth to sell the things I make. The store is Ben Franklin's. It is located on the square across from the courthouse in Mt. Vernon Missouri. They of course sell fabrics and all kinds of crafting items and they make and sell the best tasting fudge.
They have opened up half of their store to people like me who make things and offer them for sell. If you are ever in Mt. Vernon, you should drop in and see what all they have to offer.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Making a bow

The basket in the picture was made for a previous blog entitled Egg Basket.

Now to make a bow you will need about 4 yards of 3 inch wide wire edged ribbon, a twist tie, Utility scissors, fabric scissors, and a crochet hook (about a size H)

Measure off about 2 3/4 yards of ribbon. Then fold one end down about 7 inches. I just use my hand with my fingers spread out to get this 7 inch measurement but you can cut out a piece of cardboard that size if you have small hands. Wrap the ribbon loosely around and around until you come to the end (remove cardboard if you are using it) and it should look like the picture to the right.

With utility scissors, cut a V in both sides at the center point (the ribbon has wire in the edges and this will destroy fabric scissors). These V notches should go in 1/3 of the way, leaving 1/3 of the width uncut. If you cut it too deep, the loops will pull out when you begin shaping the bow.

Slide the twist tie under the bow in the center position and pull both ends of the tie up in the notches. Twist it securely causing the center of the bow to wrinkle up (at least two twist).

Now cut another piece of ribbon that is slightly longer than the diameter of your basket (in this case, I cut mine about a yard long). With fabric scissors, cut large v notches in both ends (make sure you are cutting only the fabric portion of the ribbon, and not the wire edge). This will be the bow tails.
Starting with one side of the bow, put your fingers in the loops with one hand and grasp the outer loop with the other hand. Put your fingers in the loop and pull and twist this loop separating it from the bunch. Then switch and pull and twist a loop to the other side. Go back and forth like that until all the loops on that end of the bow are done. Repeat on the other side.

Now manipulate the loops until you achieve the desired look.
Center tail piece on the back of ribbon and secure in place with one twist of the twist tie.

With the twist tie, attach the bow to the base of the basket handle on one side of the basket. Stick your crochet hook through the top wrap of fabric on the top of the basket edge about 1/3 of the distance between handles away from the base of the handle. Catch one of the tails with the hook and pull it through the fabric wrap. Go down another third and repeat. Then go to the other side and do the same thing. When pulling these tails through the fabric, don't pull them tight. They should have a loose, soft look to them.

On the other handle side of basket pull both tails through the same fabric wrap in opposite directions.

Finesse the bow one more time and you are done.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Egg basket

This egg basket was made using a plastic mayonnaise jar, scraps of fabric, and a wire hanger. I also used a knife, utility scissors, wire cutters, needle nose pliers, and a crochet hook with an eye on the end like they use for making rugs. The techniques used are weaving (of course) and macrame.

First, I cut the screw band off the top of the mayonnaise jar as close as possible leaving as much jar as I could. It does not matter if your cuts are perfectly straight.

Second, I used the utility scissors to cut the jar in parallel lines approximately 1/2 inch apart.

Third, fan out the strips. The jar wants to maintain its shape, but it is too difficult to work with it like this. The best method I came up with is to push the strips down one by one while applying pressure at the base of the strip on the bottom of the jar with your other hand. Keep going around and pressing until the jar looks like the picture to the left.

Fourth, tear, or cut, fabric into strips about 2 inches wide. Working from the inside, slip a strip of fabric in between two of the plastic strips leaving a tail about 2 inches long on the out side of the jar.

Fifth, use the weaving technique going inside then outside as you move around the jar. I held the fabric strip with my right hand and with my left hand I pressed the plastic strips down, turned the base of the jar counterclockwise, and pulled the fabric in with the tips of my fingers.

1. cut slits in the end of both the one that is attached to the basket, and the one you are joining on. This slit should be about 3/4" long and no closer than 1/2" from the end.

2. Slip the end of the strip attached to the basket through the slit cut in the new piece.

3. Slip the other end of the new piece through the slip in the piece that is attached to the basket.

4. Pull the strip through the slit.

Pull tight on both strips (but not so tight that the fabric tears through). This makes a fast, easy joining that does not involve sewing, and is not nearly as bulky as a knot.

Continue weaving in and out til you reach about one inch from the top.

Sixth, secure the fabric strip in place with a pin so it won't unravel your work. Bend the plastic strips down over the last row of fabric. That means if the fabric strip is on the inside of the strip, bend plastic to the inside over the fabric strip, if the weave is to the outside, bend plastic to the outside covering fabric. Use needle nose pliers to pinch the fold of the plastic, then tuck the tail of the plastic under the fabric strip on the previous row.

Seventh, thread the tail end of the fabric strip through the eye of the rug hook needle (a bodkin or other elastic guide could also be used).Wrap the fabric strip over the top, covering the top of a plastic strip. Push needle through the basket between plastic strips under two rows of weaving and pull it tight. Work all the way around the basket in one direction, then reverse direction and wrap all the way around again in the same manor. This will insure the bent down portion to the plastic strips are secure and the basket won't come apart when weight is put in the basket.

Eighth, open up the coat hanger (mine is a red plastic covered hanger) and use wire cutters to cut it in half. Use needle nose pliers to turn down both ends. Tie two fabric strips together with a square knot leaving tails of about 6 inches. Slip knot under the bent down portion of one end of the wire. Use pliers to pinch the wire down. This will hold the knot securely. Use macrame technique to cover the wire.

Shape the handle, put the handle ends to the inside of basket and feed tails through the basket making sure that you go around one plastic strip. Tie securely with a square knot. weave tails in.

Decorate with ribbon bows if desired (I used hot glue to attach this bow). These baskets are a good projects for kids to help with. They can be made for Easter, or for other occasions. For instance, you could use red and green fabric and make Christmas baskets, use the person's favorite color and make baskets for Birthdays, or Mother's Day or just a thank you gift . If you fill the basket with cookies or some other goodies you make yourself it will make it all that much more special.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chow-Chow Relish

4 cups chopped cabbage (1 small head)
3 cups chopped cauliflower (1 medium head)
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped green tomatoes (about 4)
2 cups chopped sweet green peppers (2)
3 tablespoons salt
2 1/2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed

Combine chopped vegetables; sprinkle with salt. Let stand 4 to 6 hours in a cool place. Drain well. Combine vinegar, sugar and spices; simmer 10 minutes. Add vegetables; simmer 10 minutes. Bring to boiling. Pack, boiling hot, into jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust lids; process 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Makes 4 pints.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pillow case with embroidery insert

This is a pillow case with an embroidered insert. The first thing to do to make this pillow case is to figure out how much material it will need and how to cut it. The finished size of a standard pillow case is 19 1/2" X 29". Since we are going to have enclosed seams, we will need to add 3/4" to the length and 3/4" to both sides which changes our measurement to 21" X 30 1/4". Now, we have to figure out how much extra we need for the hem. I like to make my hem wide enough to completely enclose the back side of the insert. The insert window is approximately 4 inches in diameter, with 1 inch above and 1 1/2 inch below, and a half inch turn down to hide raw edges. This brings our length measurement to 37 1/4 inches. Multiply the width measurement by two (there of course are two sides) bringing it to 42 inches. So from a piece of Cotton fabric cut a piece that is 42" wide and 37 1/4" long.

Fold fabric in half lengthwise with the right sides facing out. Use 1/4 inch seam to sew the long side, and one end. Trim fabric on sewn edges down to 1/8 inch. Now turn wrong side out. Holding seam between fingers and thumb, work back and forth in a rolling fashion to get any folds or tucking out of the seam. Sew again using a half inch seam. This will totally enclose the seam. Turn up a 1/2 inch on the bottom to the back side, iron. Set this aside for now.

If you are using an iron on design, make sure it fits in a 4" circle. If you are making one that looks like mine, this is the steps I go thru to make this simple design. I measured all my dishes and found a small bowl with a 4" diameter top. I put it on a piece of white paper and traced around it. Then I folded the circle in half (holding it up to the light helps to make sure it is exactly in half).
Then I drew a half of a heart, turned it over, put it up against the window and traced the half a heart (This is to make sure the design is symmetrical). I drew a bow at the base, and alternating from inside to outside, I drew stems on both sides of the heart.

For the rose buds, I used the daisy stitch. Come up from the bottom at the point of a stem. Stick the needle back in at the same point and out slightly less than 1/16 of an inch away from the stem. Pull thread around the point of the needle as shown in the photo to the right.

Now put the needle point back in the same spot, making sure the loop will be caught and tacked in place.

Then, make another daisy stitch directly over this one but slightly larger. Using the same beginning point, make two more daisy stitches, one on each side, that are the same size as the first one, very close to the center one.

I use a decorative stem stitch to make the stems. This stitch is worked from left to right. Bring needle up through fabric on the line to be outlined. Holding thread toward you, take s short slanting back stitch along line. Make the next and each successive stitch from right to left and bring needle out to the left at the end of the previous stitch. repeat along line, keeping stitches small and uniform. At the end of that line, push needle down through the end of the line then bring it back up slightly to the right side. Look at the picture to the left, Turn your work slightly, stick the needle through the stem stitching only at an angle from left to right. this will make the thread wrap around the stem. Because the original stem stitch overlaps slightly, angling the needle will make the needle pass through two stitches at once. continue wrapping in this manor all the way up the stem. At the base of each rose make three small stitches, one from base to left side of rose, one from base to center of rose and the third from base to right side of the rose. Then use daisy stitches to make leaves up and down both sides of stem.

French knots are used to look like baby's breath around the roses. Bring needle up through material, wrap thread around the tip of the needle twice (in this picture, I am holding the tip of the needle with my left hand because I couldn't hold the needle and take the picture at the same time) close to the work, keeping the thread taunt.

Thrust needle downward 1 or 2 threads from where it was brought up. Pull the thread with your left hand slightly, working the knot down the needle. Push needle through to the back, drawing thread through carefully to form the knot on right side. Bring needle back up in position for the next french knot.

For the top part of the heart, use the decorative stem stitch.
For the bow, use regular stem stitch for all stitching lines and one more row of stem stitch down the center if you can see fabric between them. Then starting at one end, bring the needle up through the fabric on the right side. Going from left to right , pass needle straight under stitching close together giving it a raised satin stitch effect.

On freezer paper trace the same 4 inch circle used before, making sure there is at least 1 inch of paper all the way around on the outside of the circle. Cut the circle out. With wrong sides out,
fold pillow case in half with the fold side and seam line together and press this new fold. Measure up 7 1/2 inches from the turned up bottom edge on the fold line you just pressed and mark that spot. Now measure up 2 inches from that mark and make a large dot. Unfold pillowcase and with shinny side down, center the cut out circle over the large dot lining the edge of the circle with the mark. Cut fabric from the center leaving about a half inch of fabric all the way around. Cut this fabric on the inside of the circle about every 3/8 inch as shown in picture above. Use water soluble fabric to glue these little tags down to the freezer paper.

Turn pillow case right side out. Slide a small cutting mat or some other hard surface in the pillow case just under the window. Slide needle work in on top of the cutting mat and center it in the window. Pin in place. Use a blind stitch to sew window to needle work securely. Pull paper off the back. Use decorative stitches 1/2 inch around the outside of window. Trim excess fabric the back. Measure up hem (top edge of hem should come about 1 inch above window) and Blind stitch.